FILM / Critical round-up

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The Independent Culture

'Nothing is quite so dispiriting as sitting in front of a comedy unable to laugh . . . Perhaps this play within a play can't work as well as a play within a film. Chiefly, though, I think it is a matter of playing farce with cold-eyed efficiency, rather than with the kind of inner conviction and attention to character detail that makes it truly funny.' Derek Malcolm, Guardian.

'If I say I laughed till I cried, I have a dreadful fear the words will be ripped out and stuck on the poster. But I did.' Nigel Andrews, Financial Times.

'His (Peter Bogdanovich's) fine cast . . . is two-thirds American. This does not matter, since the efforts of the American actors to maintain convincing English accents on stage actually add an extra layer of potential disaster.' Hugo Davenport, Daily Telegraph.


'Laugh? We wait like locked-in dogs whose noses are pressed to the window for the first sign of life or human interest coming up the drive- way. Wit we have already despaired of in reel one.' Nigel Andrews, FT.

'This is standard family fare, neither better nor worse than countless predecessors that used to sweep through cinemas each summer, filling up an hour and a half but leaving no trace in the mind . . . in a dry season for U-certificate fun, it deserves a few welcoming barks.' Geoff Brown, Times.

'In a dog-doting nation like ours, it is heresy to express any attitude in canine matters save total adoration . . . Never mind the risk of toxicaria, and forget the worm larvae that may lurk in dog saliva; these loyal, lovable, wet-nosed, four- legged friends are an essential presence in any self-respecting family.' Hugo Davenport, Daily Telegraph.

'Mercifully the excrement gags are soon exhausted and things take a turn for the better, thanks largely to the sublimely sour-faced antics of Charles Grodin . . . Elevated from the doldrums of 'Digby'-esque sentimentality by a surprisingly bouncy script, the film is also redeemed by regular interludes of acerbic dialogue.' Mark Kermode, Time Out.

'This shaggy dog story . . . could be called harmless if it wasn't so badly made and blandly characterised. It's much funnier initially, when the lovable puppy turns gradually into a huge beast, cutely crapping on the awful carpets . . .' Derek Malcolm, Guardian.